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Brewvine: Chateau Grand Traverse

It’s the superstar of Northern Michigan’s wine region and specializes in it.

In this week’s Brewvine, we take you to Old Mission Peninsula where you can get a behind-the-scenes tour to see how Riesling is made.

“Just about two-thirds of our overall acreage of vineyards is Riesling,” said Tom Simmonds the assistant tasting room manager. “It makes up a very good percentage of what we do because it does grow the best here so you kind of go with what you’re known for.”

produces 36 beautiful wines but their specialty is Riesling and for the next couple weekends, they are giving their guests a chance to see how it’s made by taking a Riesling Tour.

“It’s a little more in-depth than our regular public tours which we give on the weekends,” he said. “So you can expect tank samples from several tanks of unfinished wines to see what the wines might taste like and what you can expect from the upcoming vintages. It looks fairly filtered but there still might be some lees in there which is the byproduct after fermentation.”

Once the process is finished you end up with one of their beautiful Rieslings ranging from dry, to sweet, to whole cluster pressed that will fit whatever flavor profile you enjoy most.

“That nice acidity so you get that crisp finish in your wine and that’s what Riesling is really known for,” said Tom. “So it just depends on your palate, sometimes even dry Rieslings can seem sweet to some people but they really aren’t they’re just very fruity in nature.”

This year the winery is celebrating over 45 years on the 45th Parallel but their staff is showing some longevity as well, starting with their tasting room manager.

“Hiro Miura, he’s been here 20 years and him or myself will be one of your tour guides if you did a Riesling Tour,” he said. “Then we have our merchandise manager whose name is Michael Bodus who’s celebrating 15 years. Myself, I’m celebrating 10 years and then our hospitality manager is celebrating 5 years.”

Whether it’s taking a tour of their facility or sampling some of their finished products in the tasting room, Chateau Grand Traverse is all about making sure their guests have a great time.

“Just giving the customer the best service possible,” said Tom. “We just try to get you to try to find a wine that you like and enjoy and hopefully it’s one of ours.”